Stop us if you've heard this before: the Bengals are currently slated to pick 24th overall in the draft. Currently sitting at 9-4-1, Cincinnati sits in a familiar slot if the draft were to take place today. Obviously, a lot has to play out yet, like, you know, the rest of the 2014 season. But that didn't stop ESPN's Todd McShay from releasing his initial version of the first round mock for next year's draft (In$ider account needed).
Looking to next season, the Bengals could use help at a few places--especially early. Defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker and offensive line help all could be termed as "needs". At No. 24, McShay has the Bengals addressing one of these needs in the form of Stanford offensive tackle, Andrus Peat.
Unfortunately, Peat's "fall" is married to the disappointing season The Cardinal had in 2014. Their trademark ground-and-pound offense wasn't nearly as effective as it was in previous years, as the team stumbled to a 7-5 regular season finish. They are currently slated to play the University of Maryland in the Foster Farms Bowl on December 30th.
Peat is a big mauler that offensive line coach Paul Alexander usually covets, so there is a fit. McShay notes a contract concern with Andrew Whitworth after the 2015 season, but right tackle Andre Smith is also entering the final year of his extension next year. Both scenarios present Peat, or another tackle in the first couple of rounds, as a logical pick.
Other notable selections in McShay's mock have Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota going No. 1 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while last year's Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, is slotted at No. 2 to the Tennessee Titans. Amari Cooper, another 2014 Heisman nominee is mocked at No. 6 overall to the Jets, while Melvin Gordon, also a 2014 Heisman nominee, was mocked to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 23.